When Suspicions Turn To Facts: How To Handle Elder Care Abuse

Abuse takes on many forms when it comes to vulnerable populations. The elderly may be preyed upon by those entrusted to care for them. Suspicions of abuse are not enough to take action, but they are enough to seek help. Read on and find out more.

Spot Elder Care Abuse

When people think about the abuse of the elderly, they often think first of physical abuse. While this is an ongoing issue in nursing homes, it's far from the only one. The elderly may also fall victim to financial exploitation as well. Elderly abuse can take these forms:

  • Neglect – The elderly person is deprived of medication, food and water, hygiene, and supervision. This can happen in a nursing home with too few employees to watch over elderly patients.
  • Physical abuse – Family members or others may notice visible signs of abuse like bruising, broken bones, and more.
  • Sexual abuse – Unfortunately, the stigma attached to this form of abuse can make it more difficult to be aware of. Some elderly people may also be unable to communicate with others about this form of abuse.
  • Financial abuse – This is extremely common amongst the elderly. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is sometimes perpetrated by family members. However, employees in a position of trust that care for the elderly person may also use the financial assets of an elderly person for their own gain. They may have estate plans changed, use a credit card, transfer money to their own account, and more.

What Actions to Take

It can be very difficult to know what to do when you suspect an elderly person is being subjected to abuse. However, it's vital not to jump to conclusions also. Take these actions upon noticing anything suspicious:

  • Document things by making notes and taking photos.
  • Consider placing a hidden surveillance camera in the room of the elderly person.
  • Speak with the nursing home manager about your concerns without accusing anyone of anything.
  • Consider asking the governing body that oversees nursing homes to investigate.
  • Speak to a personal injury attorney if you strongly feel that something is wrong.
  • The lawyer can lead you in the right direction as far as what to do next. They will likely suggest that you file a police report if you have proof of any sort of abuse. This will handle the criminal end of the situation.
  • You may take civil action against the facility in addition to the criminal charges.

Stay vigilant as you monitor your loved one in a caregiving situation. Speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer for more help with these issues.